How soon will you consider using MDM to manage Windows 10?

For IT, Windows 10 has two great things going for it: First, Windows 10 supports all your old applications. Second, you can choose to manage Windows 10 with MDM APIs.

For IT, Windows 10 has two great things going for it:

First, Windows 10 supports all your old applications (Classic Windows Apps or CWAs in the new parlance), you can treat it like a normal desktop version of Windows, and it comes with a Start menu and everything.

Second, you can choose to manage Windows 10 with MDM APIs, it has built-in work and personal separation just like iOS and Android for Work, and it can run modern well-behaved mobile-style apps (Universal Windows Apps or UWAs) with the appropriate UI for laptops and desktops or mobile devices.

These two things may seem to be unrelated, but it’s a good thing that they’re both a part of Windows 10—this will help build a bridge from the old world of desktop management using group policy to the new world of management using MDM.

By all accounts just migrating to Windows 10 should be easy. Therefore the big question is not when will this migration happen, the big question is when will companies start managing Windows 10 in the new way?

There are already many things that companies can do that help accommodate smartphones, tablets, and MacBooks. Examples include modernizing old web apps; using responsive design; getting started with EMM; adopting enterprise file sync and share; refactoring or replacing legacy desktop apps; using desktop virtualization; and simply getting more comfortable with mobile devices in general. These are all the same things that companies will have to do in order to switch over to MDM-style management for Windows 10.

Many companies are doing at least a few of these things by now, but there are still many obstacles in the way. Perhaps the biggest issue is that to switch over to the new style of management, you need to have everything ready to go and figured out, not just email and a small handful of other apps.

Another point to consider is that there’s not intense user demand forcing us to consider the new way like there was with smartphones. Microsoft Surface sales are doing admirably well, but that won’t massively and suddenly force IT to change the way they manage Windows.

Work and personal separation isn’t going to force the issue either. It’s not as big of an issue on laptops because these days much of the personal computing experience simply takes place in a browser, not in applications or OS-level frameworks.

So of course this transition is going to take a while. To get ready we have to put in a lot of work dealing with legacy applications, figuring out security, and getting more comfortable with the new way of doing end user computing.

However in conclusion (in one of the most grandiose statements that I’ve made as a blogger) I’ll say that the transitioning to MDM-style management for Windows 10 will truly signal the arrival of the post-PC era.

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I have had a number of customers express interest in testing as soon as Win10 is launched.  


I think a significant barrier to transition will be granularity of control.  There are 3,600 policy settings in GPO, and only a few dozen exposed through MDM.  That's a major gap from a configuration management standpoint.  Also, you are only talking about management, but there are other interests for domain-joining vs. MDM-joining such as Kerberos authentication to applications.  Add that to the list of items needing refactoring.  All apps and resources need to be SAML-compliant before ditching the domain-join.  


Agreed Zach.  I also think MDM's need to take on features such as software distribution (some of which can do today) - again being multi platform - PC and Mac.

I also think MDMs (ok let's use Enterprise Endpoint Management - EMM) will also move into server management too.  So we're essentially moving from on-prem systems management to endpoint management in the cloud.